7 Behaviors of Successful People

Forget luck. Embrace the right behavior patterns, and you'll be well on your way to success.

learn more about Matthew Toren

By Matthew Toren • May 5, 2016 Originally published Jun 6, 2016


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Why just admire successful people when you could be successful yourself? Success isn't all about luck. It's about focus, determination, optimism and hard work. Changing your mindset and behaviors can be tricky at first, but the payoff -- quite literally -- is worth the extra effort. Below are seven specific behaviors that successful people practice in their daily lives.

1. Make things happen instead of waiting for them to happen.

Successful people and lazy people don't mix well. Those who achieve real success understand that waiting around for their dreams to come true only wastes their time and potential. Instead of complaining about undesirable circumstances, they discover ways to overcome their challenges. Successful people throw excuses out the window and set out to make things happen the way they want them to happen.

Related: 10 Behaviors of Genuinely Successful People

2. Focus on the journey, not the destination.

The journey to success is paved with valuable life lessons, triumph and inevitable failure -- which you can learn from too if you have the right attitude. Successful people stop to smell the roses now and then, enjoying the journey to success while keeping track of time. Rather than focusing on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, those familiar with success concentrate on the rainbow itself. This makes for a much more satisfying journey.

3. Challenge the status-quo.

"Business as usual" isn't going to change the world. There's a reason why people like Elon Musk and Bill Gates are wildly successful, and that reason is an affinity for innovation. Every day, startups are challenging norms by doing the unthinkable. Businesses are bringing modern healthcare to the home, delivering just about anything within a couple of hours and building robots to help with day-to-day tasks. You name it, and it's out there. This doesn't mean that everything's already been done -- more than 627,000 American businesses open each year. It's your job to stand apart from the rest.

4. Keep learning.

Success comes to a screeching halt once someone thinks they're finished learning. No matter how much you think you know, someone out there always knows something you don't -- and successful people like it that way. Those who are serious about achieving success enjoy the constant pursuit of knowledge. They never settle with the knowledge they already have. As basketball legend John Wooden once put it, "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

Related: 10 Behaviors You Never See In Successful People

5. Focus on the possible, not the impossible.

Moaning and groaning has never gotten anyone anywhere. Successful people don't dwell on the challenges they encounter as they work toward their goals. Instead, they maintain a "sky's the limit" mentality by placing emphasis on what's still possible. With each roadblock, they reroute with their goals to the forefront of their minds.

The same people also understand that reformulating the question "How can I accomplish this?" can lead to a fresh perspective and open new doors. Obstacles are only as tough as you make them out to be.

6. Surround yourself with smart and accomplished people.

"If you want to be wealthy, hang out with wealthy people. If you want to be funny, hang out with funny people. And if you want to be poor, hang out with poor people." It's unknown who furnished this timeless advice, but it is known that the sentiment holds true. Those you spend your time with gradually shape your behaviors and your mindset.

If there's something you want to achieve or someone you want to become, you should find complementary qualities in friends, coworkers and family. Successful people build a comfortable network of positive, intelligent and accomplished individuals. Such a network not only eases them into success-building thought patterns and behaviors, but also offers them a place to brainstorm and receive support.

7. Never give up.

The most impressive successes are those that are hardest to reach. Successful people are capable of viewing each stumble and fall as only a temporary setback. Failures are opportunities to learn and start anew, not throw their hands up and walk away. In fact, many successful people are opportunists who appreciate failures. To team, failures mean their efforts are legitimate and dynamic.

Related: 8 Ways Intelligent People Use Failure To Their Advantage

People intent on achieving success understand that accomplishments only follow a laundry list of blunders and mistakes. Instead of getting discouraged, they set out to finish what they started with passion and determination.

It's your turn.

You don't have to make an idol out of every successful person you know in order to learn from them. Instead, pick apart the qualities that helped them succeed, then practice embodying those qualities in your day-to-day life. What behaviors have you noticed in those who have achieved success? Which ones have helped you become successful?

Matthew Toren

Serial Entrepreneur, Mentor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This Co-Founder Was Kicked Out of Retailers for Pitching a 'Taboo' Beauty Product. Now, Her Multi-Million-Dollar Company Sells It for More Than $20 an Ounce.
Have You Ever Obsessed Over 'What If'? According to Scientists, You Don't Actually Know What Would Have Fixed Everything.
Most People Don't Know These 2 Things Are Resume Red Flags. A Career Expert Reveals How to Work Around Them.
Business News

Survey: A Majority of Americans Are Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Sixty-four percent of U.S. consumers live paycheck to paycheck — even those who earn more than $100,000 a year.

Business News

Massive Fire At Top Egg Farm Leaves Estimated 100,000 Hens Dead. What Does This Mean For Egg Prices?

Hillandale Farms in Bozrah, Connecticut went up in flames on Saturday in an incident that is still under investigation.

Business Solutions

5 Procurement Trends To Keep on Your Radar for 2023

Procurement professionals must adapt to inflation and a shortage of skilled labor in the face of an economic recession. Investing in a workforce paired with retraining and development strategies will put your company on top amid economic uncertainty.

Business News

'This Just Can't Be for Real': Fyre Festival Fraudster Billy McFarland is Now Hiring For His New Tech Company -- And He's Already Selling Merch

McFarland was released from house arrest last September and is currently being ordered to pay $26 million in restitution to fraud victims.

Business News

Out With the Kibble and In With the Steak. The World's Richest Dog Has a Net Worth of $400 Million – And a New Netflix Docuseries Too

'Gunther's Millions' is set to unpack the pooch's mysterious fortune and what those around him have done with his inheritance.